Friday, August 27, 2004

Sport stupidity

A friend from Canada emailed me today. She congratulated me on Australia's success in the Olympics.

I've just finished watching Roy and HG's daily comedic rundown of events from Athens. It's certainly the only part of the games I'm deliberately watching - and that's probably only because there's nothing else on at 11pm.

I do appreciate the beauty and precision displayed in some events. I even have a slightly disturbing desire for Australia to do well. But what's more disturbing is that Australia IS doing so well. Relative to our tiny population it's downright ridiculous. So what's going on?

The answer, of course, is MASSIVE government spending on sport facilities and training. And anyone who thinks this is justified when our schools, hospitals and welfare system are so poorly funded is not my friend.

But no politician will ever deprive the masses of their opiate. And Australians don't look like abandoning this crazy obsession with sport anytime soon.

More evidence that we don't live in a real democracy. This does not mean that I have the ludicrous opinion that Australia is a fascist regime. No, Australia has free elections. We're probably more democratic than the US because our compulsory voting laws mean that both rich and poor vote in elections (although the rich have the opportunity to give massive donations to political parties). But Australia is by no means a participatory democracy. Call me idealistic, but I reckon that if people we taught to think critically, they would realise that the government should spend less money on sport and more on health. But they're not taught to think critically. I only learned how to do it properly at university. It's so essential to democracy that I should have learned it at school.